Advantages and Disadvantages of Being an Agency Nurse

Agency nursing, whether full time or part time, means nurses can be flexible with choosing what shifts they want to work and where. Agency nursing allows nurses to have control over their schedules and assignments, which in turn can allow them to focus more on patient care than on facility politics.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an agency nurse?


Some advantages include:

  • Agency nursing is flexible with scheduling. Nurses can pick up shifts when and where they want to, avoid night shifts if they choose and schedules can be organized around family and personal obligations.
  • Most agencies pay higher hourly rates than full time facility positions.
  • Agency nursing means nurses can often work in a range of different departments and this experience can help improve nursing skills.


Some disadvantages include:

  • Being in unfamiliar environments and not getting the support or explanation of how the systems work.
  • Not having a guaranteed income (for full time agency nurses)
  • An expectation that you are always independent and flexible.
  • As agency staff, there is no association with the hospital and therefore the challenge of being accepted by permanent staff.
  • The difference in pay rates can cause issues between agency nurses and permanent staff.
  • Typically Per Diem Nursing (PRN) jobs carry no medical benefits, no pension plans, no paid time off and no holiday pay.